Every facet of life is governed by rules, regulations and laws, be they natural or imposed by man, and bodybuilding is no different. Here are the basic bodybuilding commandments every athlete should follow to walk along the path of bodybuilding righteousness.
“I have learned much from my teachers; from my colleagues more than from my teachers; and from my students more than all” (Talmud, Taanit 7b). Experience truly is the best teacher, and while I have been teaching Jewish students in many settings for 30 years, I continually learn from them. I have learned what it takes to be an educator, and particularly a b’nai mitzvah educator, from supervisors, colleagues and students as well as from their parents.
I saw the blinking light on my answering machine and listened to the frantic voice of my girlfriend, Debbie, as I put the groceries away.
"Heeeeeelp! Jason says he doesn't want to do his bar mitzvah anymore. We've got the date and the place, I've hired the DJ and he's already begun to prepare. He's making me crazy. What should I do? Call me."
Wow, what a bummer, I thought to myself.
A Reason to Obey
This Shabbat we read the portion of Ki Tavo. In it, Moses tells the Israelites that if they obey all the commandments, they will be blessed with good food, good weather and a good life. But if they disobey the commandments, they will be cursed with misfortune.
This week's Torah portion begins with, and is named after, the key word chukat. Chukat means "the law of" and specifically refers to the ritual law of the red heifer. What distinguishes a chok from other kinds of laws is its mystery.
Most Torah commandments have a basis in reason and logic. Chukim cannot be justified by rational arguments. There is no plausible explanation for why the ashes of an unblemished red cow are particularly powerful against ritual impurity. Nor can intellectual arguments justify why those ashes should have the paradoxical effect of purifying an impure Israelite, but rendering a priest who handles them impure. The chok of the red heifer, like the chok not to wear a blend of wool and flax, doesn't claim to be reasonable. It claims to be holy and to foster holiness.
Often people will tell me that what they love about Judaism is the freedom to question, to challenge and to demand answers.
Ki Tetze contains more commandments than any other Torah portion. Some commandments studding the text cause us to crinkle our brow. Rather than general ethical maxims, they are ethical baby steps -- commandments that seem to be trying to toddle away from Hammurabi's Code of Laws and more severe systems.
In Parshat Yitro, God gives the Israelites the Ten Commandments.